Where the wild things are: a trip to Romania’s southern mountains

Where the wild things are: a trip to Romania’s southern mountains

The reintroduction of bison to the Carpathians is a boon for nature – and local communities – as our writer discovers on a hiking break

“From this pile of logs onwards, we need to be completely silent,” says Georg Messerer, our guide through Romania’s southern Carpathians. His head cocks 45 degrees as a bird starts chirping. “Nuthatch,” he whispers, reaching for his binoculars. “And two red deer.” Georg directs our gaze to a row of apple trees, where sure enough, two deer are grazing.

Georg is an environmental encyclopedia. Give him a fresh footprint or dropping and he can tell you what the animal was and when it was there. Born in Germany, but with extensive guiding experience in Southern Africa, Georg has been guiding here, in the remote hills of Rusca in the Țarcu Mountains, near the villages of Armeniș, for more than five years – ever since the reintroduction of free-roaming bison to the area began.

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